Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kids Chores for Tech Privileges

Welcome to the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Technology

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about their families' policies on screen time.


I have a love/hate relationship with technology and how it sucks my child into its pixelated time-wasting vortex. Sure, he traces letters and solves puzzles, but he also stares at a screen to do it. Anyway, I recently had a revelation, when thinking about my current parenting challenges. Besides limiting our somewhat excessive technology use (bad habit lingering from baby #2s newborn days), one of my focuses lately has been encouraging my preschooler to clean up his messes. Then it hit me: why not tie them together?!? So now, in our house, to get iPad minutes, children must clean. We have a couple rules to make sure it doesn't get ridiculous:
  • one minute of focused cleaning, meaning putting toys all the way away=one minute of iPad time
  • messes made solely for the purpose of acquiring iPad minutes don't count, but must be cleaned up before redeeming iPad minutes earned legitimately
  • timer tampering means your turn is automatically over, and mom can ask to check the timer at any time
I love that much like adult life, this game ties fun rewards and necessary work together. After all, we wouldn't have iPads and Internet and such at all if it weren't for the hard work of the adults who pay for them! I love that it puts a positive spin on chores, and that it naturally limits iPad turns. I think it could be easily adapted to any technology use that is a strong motivator to your child. If you have a tidy child and house already, you could change it to one toy=one minute so they don't end up getting totally insignificant rewards. The second morning we played this game, my 4 year old woke up and immediately started cleaning his room. #parentingWIN


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be updated throughout the day on October 8):

  • Has Technology Taken Away Childhood? — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama worries that technology is intruding on the basic premise of childhood - active play in all forms! Join her as she takes a brief look at how play has changed as technology becomes more integrated into the daily lives of our children.
  • Fostering a Healthy Relationship with Technology — Jenn at Adventures Down Under describes her children's love of screen time and how her family implements their philosophy and policies on technology.
  • Kids Chores for Tech PrivilegesCrunchy Con Mommy shares how tying chore completion to iPad privileges worked in her house to limit screen time and inspire voluntary room cleaning!
  • Screens — Without the benefit of her own experience, sustainablemum explains her family's use of technology in their home.
  • Screen Time - The Battle of Ideologies — Laura from Laura's Blog explains why she is a mom who prioritizes outdoor natural play for her kids but also lets them have ample screen time.
  • The Day My iPhone Died — Revolution Momma at Raising a Revolution questions the role technology plays in her life when she is devastated after losing her phone's picture collection from her daughter's first year.
  • Finding our Technological Balance — Meegs at A New Day talks about how she finds balance between wanting her daughter to enjoy all the amazing technology available to her, without it overwhelming the natural parenting she's striving for.
  • Raising kids who love TV — Lauren at Hobo Mama sometimes fears what children who love screentime will grow up to be … until she realizes they'll be just like her.
  • No Limits on Screen Time? Is that Natural? — Susan at Together Walking shares misconceptions and benefits of having no limits on technology and screen time in their home.
  • Screen Time — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares what is currently working (and what hasn't) regarding screen time in her household.
  • Positive Use of Technology with Kids — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her family's experiences with early technology, shares helpful resources from around the blogosphere, and speculates on what she'd do as a parent with young children today.
  • why i will never quit you, TV — How Emma of Your Fonder Heart came to terms with the fact that screen time is happening, and what balance looks like between real and virtual life for both her toddler AND herself.
  • Technology Speaks — Janet at Our Little Acorn finds many uses for technology - including giving her child a voice.
  • 5 Ways to Extend Children's Screen Time into Creative Learning Opportunities — Looking for a way to balance screen time with other fun learning experiences? Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares 5 fun ways to take your child's love of favorite shows or video games and turn them into creative educational activities.
  • What parents can learn about technology from teachers — Douglas Blane at Friendly Encounters discusses how technology in schools enhances children's learning, and where to find out more.
  • 5 Tips for a Peaceful Home — Megan of the Boho Mama and author at Natural Parents Network shares her favorite 5 tips for creating a peaceful home environment.
  • Technology and Natural Learning — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling writes about the importance of technology as a tool for natural, self-directed learning.
  • Babies and TechnologyJana Falls shares how her family has coped, changed their use of, relied on, and stopped using various forms of technology since their little man arrived on the scene
  • Kids and Technology — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about the benefits of using technology with her preschooler, and includes a few of their favorite resources.
  • Using Technology to Your Advantage: Helping Children Find Balance — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses how technology can be used or abused and gives a few tips to help children learn balance.


Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

"messes made solely for the purpose of acquiring iPad minutes don't count, but must be cleaned up before redeeming iPad minutes earned legitimately"
{snort} you have to admit - that's pretty genius ;) Does he at least get points for effort? In our house, we do screen time after educational + clean-up time. We don't have a set amount of either, but so far that hasn't been an issue.

Laura said...

That is pretty brilliant. :) My question is did you have to make up point 2 preemptively or after an incident? :)

Jennifer Saleem said...

While I am not at the parenting stage of needing to create some sort of trade offering to get my daughter to help with clean up, I do think that this is a good way to limit screen time and keep your children motivated to contribute around the house. I love the thinking of a child who makes a mess to get more Ipad time! Ha! Gotta love that.

Lauren Wayne said...

Oo — a child-cleaned home! Nice bonus.

Susan said...

How long have you been implementing this system and how old is your son? Just curious. How does his attitude about it seem to be?

I remember my daughter also getting lots of screen time when her baby brother came along. Philosophically (read: in my head) I had embraced the idea of not limiting screen time - it made sense to me - but in practice it was much harder to let go. Now 4 years later I'm glad I did.

Jennifer McMillin said...

Ha ha, my original first line of my post for the carnival was something about my love/hate relationship with technology as well!

I'm struggling with getting a toddler and preschooler to tidy up the house so I might consider something like this. I find that even when I set a timer, it's still really difficult to end iPad time though so I lean towards not making the suggestion that we get it out at all!